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By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2003
British cyclist Charles Wegelius, who rides for the Italian second division team De Nardi failed a blood test in Bergamo, Italy, Saturday, ruling him out of the Tour of Lombardy, the final leg of the 10-race World Cup.
The De Nardi team’s manager said however that Wegelius would undergo “every test possible” on Monday to prove he has not been doping.
Wegelius was ruled out of Saturday’s race, and for competition for the next two weeks, after a pre-race blood test showed his haematocrit level to be above the permitted threshold of 50 percent.
The 25-year-old, who was born in Finland, will now submit a urine sample to be tested for banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin).
A team spokesman tried to play down the affair, explaining that Wegelius had his spleen removed after a motorbike accident in 1998.
“That can cause abnormalities in the blood,” said the spokesman.
Sevilla signs for Phonak
Oscar Sevilla on Saturday agreed terms with the Swiss Phonak team, which also recently signed American Tyler Hamilton in a bid to be invited to next year’s Tour de France.
Phonak manager Urs Freuler said: “The deal is done. All we have to do is sign the contract.”
Sevilla, 27, is considered one of the big talents of his generation but has failed to hit the summits with the Kelme team, with whom he finished seventh in the 2001 Tour de France and second in the Vuelta the same year.
Phonak has also signed Frenchman Nicolas Jalabert (CSC), Italian Danielle Bennati (Domina Vacanze) and Slovenian pair Tadej Valjavec (Fassa Bortolo) and Uros Murn (Formaggi Pinzolo).